October 1, 2005

U.S. EPA OKs waiver for gasoline at Exxon refinery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency
said on Saturday it would allow ExxonMobil's oil refinery in
Baytown, Texas, to produce conventional gasoline with a higher
sulfur content than normally allowed and the motor fuel could
be sold in East Coast and Gulf Coast states.

The EPA said its temporary waiver from federal clean air
requirements would last through Thursday to help prevent
gasoline supply disruptions after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina
left 12 refineries along the Gulf Coast shutdown.

The gasoline can also be sold in Tennessee and Kentucky.

ExxonMobil's mammoth Baytown refinery can process up to
557,000 barrels of crude oil a day into gasoline and other
petroleum products.

Exxon said on Friday its Baytown refinery, shut in advance
of the more recent Hurricane Rita, would likely reach full
operations in "days" after the plant began to restart earlier
this week.

The government said it expected about 15 percent of U.S.
oil refining capacity to be offline at least for a couple more
weeks because of the hurricanes' impact.

Separately, the EPA also said it would allow high-sulfur
diesel fuel to be sold in Kentucky through Wednesday, joining
Tennessee and East Coast and Gulf Coast states that already
were given a waiver from federal rules requiring less-polluting